We here at HeyYouVideoGame LOVE video games. We love them so much that we started a podcast all about them. But we know that some of you love gaming so much that you hope to create one of your own. If this is you, have you ever wondered what it would take to develop your own video game? We talked with 15 video game developers asking them to respond to, “What I wish I’d Known Before Starting as a Game Developer.” We gathered all types of advice from those who are newer to game development to those who have published games under their belt. We hope this advice helps you!
On Why Am I Doing This?
Brian Rothstein (GoBit Games) Developer of Peggle & More!
“I think this is an important question because I’ve personally witnessed many unhappy game developers and have myself been unhappy with the process at various times. There’s a lot of soul searching that goes into making games. What are we doing? What is fun? How important is our work? Why are we going crazy over inane details?
On Self Care
Chris Lum (Monomi Park) Developer of Slime Rancher
“That it’s okay to take vacations. There will always be fires to put out & if you don’t take personal time when you need it, you never will.”
Bigosaur Developer of Son of a Witch
“When you look at the press and stories about successful developers, you can see how some of them really made it big. However, for every one of those, there are hundreds of developers who failed. In 2009 or so there weren’t many game engines and developing games was hard and expensive. That’s why it was much easier to succeed than today. When you see some postmortem or success story that’s dated before 2015, you should take it with a grain of salt. It’s hard and almost impossible to replicate that. You should never start making a game thinking that you will become the next Notch or Edmund MacMillan. Be prepared to fail and earn nothing and it will be much easier for you.”
Fulby Developer of Starfighter Arduxim
“Don’t waste time on multiplayer if you’re a new indie developer, it’s incredibly unlikely that enough people will buy the game to sustain it. Pour that time into polishing the single player so your game stands out.”
“Your question is interesting, but somewhat hard to answer. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, mostly with attempting to make games far beyond the skill level of me or anyone who was working with me. But I don’t know that that is something I could have been told before I started – even when I have tried to make what I thought were small enough games, they turned into a big unfinishable albatross. I finally in the last year put all of my effort into finding a game that intrigued me well enough but was also the smallest it could be to allow me to actually finish. Small to develop and small in sales”
On Starting Now
Heisengerm Developer of ReBeat
“The thing I wish I had known before starting is that really anyone can be a developer. I had this sort of preconceived notion in my head that you had to be a great coder and artist, and that I wasn’t good enough at either of those to make a game. While I’m still not great at either, I found that there is a near infinite amount of resources available online to help you learn anything you need to develop a game. It only takes patience and motivation. I regret not starting earlier in my life when I had more free time! Now I have to wait until I get home to work on my game, and sometimes I just don’t have the energy.”
Connor Linning Developer of Towards the Pantheon
“I wish that I wouldn’t have fallen for the “you must learn c++ and make your own engine” trap wjen I started. There’s a big difference between being a game developer and game engine developer. If you care more about the creative side of things rather than reinventing the wheel on the technical side of things, using a pre existing engine like Unity or GameMaker is much easier and faster. After all, the gamer cares about the overall game experience, not which engine or programming language you use.